Reading, writing, and arithmetic … all important lessons for the growing child, but the one that will have the most meaningful and profound impact, is the lesson of your love. Children are not simply children – they are individuals with thoughts and feelings, and they are far more aware then we often grant credit. What you give to them today they will give to the world tomorrow, and so one can not stress enough the vital importance of recognizing and appreciating all that they are.
It’s not about rules and punishments … no rule was ever created that hasn’t begged to be broken, and no punishment has taught a thing other than regret. It’s about trust and understanding … it’s about establishing a bond, not as master and subordinate, but as guide and friend. It’s about being a teacher in the most human sense, where compassion is the curriculum, and patience is the test. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with being firm sometimes, as sometimes one has to be firm when it comes to issues of their well-being – ‘no Honey, you can’t go play on the highway, no matter how much you want to’ – but not simply because ‘I say so’, but because ‘I care’, and ‘we don’t want you to get hurt, do we?’. There’s a subtle difference between saying no because ‘I’m the parent’ and saying no because ‘I care about you’, but it is a difference that will have a profound impact on the child’s understanding, and the relationship which you will share as the years go on. Think about it … how might you react if you are told that you can’t do something, for a reason that seems like nothing more than an arbitrary wielding of superior power? How would that make you feel? Now think about this: how would you react if it was explained to you why you can’t – or if the explanation is beyond you, if you were told ‘no’ by someone whom you trust, because you know that they are speaking to you from a position of love? Can you see the difference … can you feel the difference? I guarantee you that the child can …
Children are often the teachers as much as they are the students, because they force you to look at yourself and your own experiences. Our adult egos sometimes have trouble with this idea. We may not like to admit that we’ve made mistakes, or that maybe the treatment that we had as children, had more of a negative impact on our life than what we realize – maybe we didn’t ‘turn-out’ as ‘fine’ as we think … but it’s never too late to face the truth, and put forth an effort not to make the same mistakes again.
It’s all part of the journey of life – the process of learning and growing – and if you can keep that on your mind and in your heart, then you can honestly say that you’re doing your best and nobody can fault you for that. You have to learn to love and forgive yourself, as well as others, and realize that we are ALL on this journey together – young and old. The power to change reality for the better really is in our hands and the little hands of our children … the power is in our continuing to understand life more clearly, our courage to think differently than the past, and ultimately, in our ability to LOVE.